Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Showing a little love for the Thomas Dale Knights!

Here at Robbins Landscaping, we like to give back to our community. We know that we couldn't be successful without the help and support of our neighbors, and we like to say 'thanks' by helping where we can. We recently completed one such 'Thank you, community!' project! Check out the press release below to learn about how we partnered with the Thomas Dale High School football program to improve their football field:
Chester, Virginia/USA - 09/25/12 - The Thomas Dale Knights football team, 2009 State Champions, needed help with their field in August 2011. Head football coach Kevin Tucker asked Doug Robbins, a proud Thomas Dale alum and owner of Robbins Landscaping, for help with the field’s condition. Tucker’s request prompted Doug Robbins to donate a turf rejuvenation to Thomas Dale High School on behalf of Robbins Landscaping, Inc. During a twelve-month rejuvenation, the Robbins Landscaping Team worked hard to help the Thomas Dale Football coaching staff rejuvenate the Thomas Dale football field. With consultative help from Gil Grattan of Virginia Green, one of Robbins Landscaping’s key subcontractors, the company followed a holistic approach to rejuvenation, beginning with an aeration, fertilization, and weed control program for the field. The Robbins Landscaping Irrigation division worked with the Thomas Dale coaching staff to establish and follow an irrigation schedule to support healthy turf growth. Throughout the renovation, the Thomas Dale coaching staff excellently maintained the field with proper cutting techniques. This summer, the Robbins team installed soil and sod to patch some particularly bare areas of turf and the field was over seeded and fertilized again. To add some finishing touches to their volunteer restoration, Robbins Landscaping fertilized the practice fields and offered its Maintenance Division to help with mowing and weed eating on the field and in the stadium area. Doug Robbins is often donating his company’s services to help others in the Greater Richmond Area. A strong sense of community responsibility permeates the Robbins Landscaping culture. Doug Robbins built his company on a strong belief in giving back and has worked to engrain this principle into the mission of Robbins Landscaping. When asked about this particular donation to the community, Doug responds “I want to be able to positively affect our community- particularly the young members of our community. I want to provide them with the best possible opportunity for success.” Robbins Landscaping was pleased to offer its resources to help the Thomas Dale athletes get ready for their season by providing quality turf on the football field. The Robbins Landscaping Team is excited for the Thomas Dale athletes to begin using their newly rejuvenated field and wishes them the best of luck for the 2012 football season. Go Knights!
A big 'Thank You!' to the Greater Richmond Community from Robbins Landscaping, Inc. We wouldn't be where we are today without you!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From Seedlings to Table

Hi all!

We're back with an update from our Vegetable Garden:

Last we posted on the blog (our Facebook photos show more progress) our little seedlings had just sprouted:

It's been 4 weeks since that post and we have already enjoyed our first harvest!

Here's what happened during those 4 weeks:

About two weeks after our sprouts showed up, our veggie bed was looking a little like this:

It's amazing how quickly things grow! Look at all the green leaves!

And at the 3 week mark:

And at 4 weeks: (You can see the gaps left in the rows after our first harvest!)

Isn't it great! Our Vegetable Garden experiment has been a great success so far!

Here are some progress shots just so you can see the dramatic difference in growth over the past 4 week.

Radish sprouts:

Radishes 14 days in:

Radishes 21 days in:

Radishes at 4 weeks:

And on Friday (April 13) we had our first big harvest! Sarah and her husband Ben made this tasty salad from our harvest for a little al fresco dining:

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vegetable Seed Planting and a Fun Surprise!

Hi all!

We're back with an update from our new vegetable gardens!

This past weekend Tom (one of our designers) was able to take some time to plant seeds in one of our new vegetable garden beds!

He planted some Mesclun mix, radishes, beets, cilantro, spinach, and some broccoli plugs.

Because it's a week or so earlier than recommended planting time for these veggies, we are experimenting with the black plastic mulching. We hope that it warms the soil and retains moisture without heating the plants too much or rotting their roots with too much water. We'll let you know what we find out on that front!

Anyway, after planting the one bed, Tom spent some time spreading a rich mushroom compost on some of the other beds.

Let me tell you, that stuff is stinky! It smelled very much like a regular farm over here while Tom was spreading that compost! Now that it's down, though, the odor is not very noticeable and the compost should provide a nutrient-rich growing environment for our vegetables. All in the name of healthy veggies, right?!

This morning we came into work to a wonderful surprise: our radishes and mesclun mix have started to sprout!

Here are the radishes:

and here are the mesclun mix sprouts:

Aren't they cute?

The weather here has been absolutely beautiful and we've had a few light rains since Tom planted on Saturday; this week has been the perfect growing environment for our little seeds! We'll keep you posted on their growth progress!

Is anyone else out there planting their early spring seeds already? What are you planting? Have you seen the quick growth that we have!?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vegetable Garden Bed Creation, Richmond, VA

As I mentioned here, we broke ground last week for our exciting Spring 2012 project at our Show Gardens: Vegetable Gardens!

What we accomplished last week was essentially the creation of the 6 raised beds.

Our trusted vendor, Dave Call with JB Mulch helped us with this part of the project by donating a very significant amount of topsoil for the raised beds! A HUGE thank you to Dave and JB Mulch for making this project possible!!! (You can see Dave's generous donation being delivered in the video below- something about big truck deliveries is so exciting to us as it means a fun project is about to begin!)

Here's a quick video to show you how we got everything done!

For those of you who can't watch the video, or would like a more detailed explanation of how we got from bare lawn to 6 raised beds, here is a play-by-play of what went on here last week:

First, Rigo, Francisco, and Manuel worked hard to align the beds with the existing landscape elements (namely an existing path and our patio.) They pulled strings and read levels to make sure that the beds would be just right for the space (which is slightly sloped.)

Next, the team used a trencher to really define the bed edges. Once the mechanical trencher created the lines, Manuel and Francisco went through to manually clean up the edges with shovels and hard rakes.

Then, Rigo used the skidsteer to remove the majority of the existing turf from the bed areas and we hauled the organic material to our compost area:

Once the grass was removed, Rigo and his team began adding the topsoil blend to the bed areas in order to create the raised beds.

After a hard day's work, this is what we had accomplished:

The beds are created! Our next step is to add a rich mushroom compost to add nutrients for the vegetables we'll be planting! And, of course, we will keep you updated as we go!

What do you think so far?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Breaking Ground on our Vegetable Gardens in Richmond, VA

So we've recently announced (here and here) that we are starting an exciting new vegetable garden at our Show Gardens in Richmond, VA and we are breaking ground today!

Before I start to show you pictures of the process, let me explain a little bit about our show gardens so that we are all on the same page:

This is an illustrated drawing of our Show Gardens (with some computer-generated markings described below) designed by Tom Stuart, our long-time designer on staff here at Robbins Landscaping. The area outlined in red is the section that we installed in the summer of 2009. This is what it looks like (during the growing season!):

The letters below correspond with the letters on the plan above just to help you get a sense of the garden layout

The area outlined in yellow has not been installed according to this plan. In fact, it is currently a grassy patch that looks a little something like this:

So after much discussion on the best, most exciting way to use this space, we decided to install a vegetable garden there! (In the yellow-outlined space.)

Tom got to work planning out the design of the beds and we now have a concept for the vegetable garden!

Here's a little video of Tom explaining his thought process to you:

Now for those of you that are at work and can't watch this video, Tom basically explains that he is planning to construct 6 raised beds for our vegetable garden. The beds will not, at this point, be bordered by stone or timber but will be rectangular mounds of rich soil that will soon be filled with thriving vegetable plants! We plan to leave grass walkways between each bed to allow for easy maintenance and harvesting. The layout of the rectangular beds is in such a way that the grass paths will align with the sidewalk that leads to our office front door as well as to our existing patio.

The challenges that we know we will face are "critters;" we know that deer and rabbits live near our office and are pretty sure that woodchucks might be a threat as well. We haven't determined our best practice for deterring these critters, but we will let you know what we decided to do- and what does and doesn't work for us! After all, a large part of why we have a Show Garden is to test plants and ideas so that we can suggest great options for our clients!

So now that everyone has a good idea of the lay of the land, I'll be back soon with posts of the progress! Here's a sneak peak for you to see what exciting things are going on:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vegetable Gardens in Richmond, VA!

That's right: the exciting new project for our Show Gardens that we hinted at yesterday is a Vegetable Garden!

We are going to be installing several raised vegetable beds as an addendum to our Show Gardens at our office in Colonial Heights. This idea is 'new' to our Show Gardens, but is a very old style of gardening that we can't wait to incorporate into our services.

Here's a video of Doug explaining our idea:

We are so excited for this project; it will be a great way to test out different kinds of vegetables as well as give back to the community! Once we begin harvesting our vegetables, we intend to donate the surplus to our local food bank.

Many of our team members have tended personal vegetable gardens for years; this year we are all going to pool our knowledge to tend the best vegetable garden that we can!

Does anyone out there tend a vegetable garden? Are you in the Richmond area? What do you think of our new addition?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Exciting New Project at Robbins Landscaping

Hi all!

Tomorrow we will 'unveil' an exciting new project we're starting at our Show Gardens!

We'll be working with some of our trusted vendors to create a really neat new garden space.

Here's a peak at the space right now, before we've started and work:

Our goals with this project are:

1. To test out a new old idea for any clients that are interested (you'll get the 'new old' adjectives after tomorrow morning!)

2. To create an educational environment to share what we learn with you and anyone else in the community

3. To do good in the community by donating proceeds from the garden space.

We break ground tomorrow! We'll be back with videos and more pictures!

We'd love to hear your feedback!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pansy Problems?

What a mild winter we've been having!

You fellow Richmonders probably noticed that your pansies were looking great up until we had that cold snap last week.

You also might be wondering 'Hey! I thought pansies were cold-weather annuals? Why do they look weary after the cold snap?'

As our friend Richard Nunnally so succinctly explained in his Gardening Q & A column on Saturday, the unseasonably warm (60 degree!) weeks leading up to the cold snap allowed your pansy plantings to grow some tender new foliage. Unfortunately this new foliage was still a bit too tender to be unharmed by the sub-freezing night time temperatures last week.

What can you do about this?

Right now, let them be. It would be unwise to try to fertilize now since there is likely still some cold winter weather in store for us and fertilizing now would promote more foliage growth resulting in the same frost damage. Once we've gotten through February, you could fertilize your pansies (in early March) for a beautiful show through March and April.

While we're on the topic of beautiful pansy plantings, what is your favorite color combination? Do you like to plant yellows and bronzes to coordinate with autumn plantings? Do you prefer red and white to coordinate with Christmas? Or maybe you like pastels so that when your spring bulbs are blooming, your pansies coordinate? We'd love to hear your opinion-- Everyone's taste is different!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Welcome, 2012!

It's such a great feeling to start a new year, don't you think?

Here at Robbins Landscaping we like to spend time in the first few weeks of the year to really evaluate what we want to accomplish in the coming year. These winter weeks are a fresh start, a renewed commitment to our clients and our work.

Here are some of the professional goals that our team members have for 2012:

Chris plans to establish a LinkedIn account to better network with clients and other professionals

Tommy plans to improve the organization of the office systems and procedures

Sarah plans to use Outlook more effectively and to become better organized

Jesus wants to help others by teaching the irrigation experience that he has

John wants to improve daily efficiencies as well as equipment usage

Alex wants to improve his communication with his clients

Luke wants to perform the Commercial Landscape Maintenance to the best of his ability

What are your goals? What are some goals that other small businesses have? We are inspired by the resolutions others commit to- share yours with us!